THE Philippine Red Cross has echoed the call of the Department of Health for parents to have their children vaccinated to prevent them from acquiring diseases that are vaccine-preventable such as polio.
Senator Richard J. Gordon, PRC chairman and CEO, stressed that the vaccines included in the DOH’s Expanded Program of Immunization are safe and effective.
“It is through vaccines and proper hygiene and sanitation that we will be able to combat polio. PRC works hand in hand with the Department of Health in eradicating poliomyelitis. Every child aged 0-5 years old must be vaccinated. The Red Cross is always first, always ready and always there in serving the most vulnerable,” he said.
Gordon said the PRC conducted a Technical Training on Polio and Response Planning Workshop in preparation for the Synchronized Oral Polio Vaccine to be held in the National Capital Region and Mindanao on October 14 - 27, 2019 to address the polio outbreak in the country which re-emerged after 19 years of being polio-free.
PRC volunteers from the NCR and Mindanao chapters, who will play a big part in the mass immunization, were trained on proper handling and distribution of the Oral Polio Vaccine, the correct way of disposing of the OPV vials, and were also briefed on the updates and initiatives of the government concerning polio.
During the training, UNICEF Immunization Officer Dr. Madonna Andaya -Anabieza and Dr. Maria Paz P. Corrales, DoH Director III, gave deeper insights on polio, types and series of vaccines, and details about the synchronized oral polio vaccines, including the planning of different activities and other intervention strategies.
The information learned from this training session will be disseminated to PRC chapters’ staff and volunteers who will assist in administering OPV to children from October to January next year.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies released $336,700 from its disaster relief emergency fund to support PRC’s house to house visit in giving OPV. The target number of Red Cross is 20,000 children in Metro Manila alone.
Polio is a communicable disease caused by poliovirus. It can be spread from person to person through fecal to mouth route and also through water and food contaminated with poliovirus. It is preventable by vaccines with multiple doses.
“It is through the power of pool of volunteers that the Red Cross can help our partners in fighting polio in the upcoming ‘Sabayang Patak Kontra Polio,’” Gordon said.
Currently, the PRC has around two million volunteers nationwide through the Red Cross 143 program, a community-based volunteering program of the Philippine Red Cross where one leader and a minimum of 43 members form part of an active corps of capable, caring, and committed individuals.